In a press release issued Tuesday, December 7, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the launch of two global networks to address the rise of antimicrobial resistance and other healthcare threats. With partners in India, the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine will participate both in the Global Action in Healthcare Network (GAIHN) and the Global AR Laboratory and Response Network (Global AR Lab & Response Network). 

Drs. Matthew Robinson and Trish Simner of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine are collaborating with five Indian medical institutions with which JHU has longstanding research ties:  

  • Bharati Vidyapeeth Medical College (Pune) 
  • Byramjee Jeejeebhoy Government Medical College (Pune)  
  • DY Patil Medical College, Hospital, and Research Centre (Pune)
  • Medanta the Medicity (Gurgaon)
  • PD Hinduja Hospital and Medical Research Centre (Mumbai, will house the reference laboratory) 

Each of these institutions conducts high quality AMR research and treats patients with highly drug resistant infections.  

Drug-resistant organisms are outpacing developments in treatments for infectious diseases. In fact, drug resistance currently claims the lives of 700,000 people each year—a number that’s projected to grow to 10 million deaths annually by midcentury. The problem is so severe that the World Health Organization has declared antimicrobial resistance (AMR) among its top 10 global health threats. The burden of AMR is greater in India than in any other country.   

Gram-negative bacterial organisms are responsible for deadly bloodstream infections. Colistin (an antibiotic) and carbapenems (a whole class of antibiotics) are the last line of defense we currently have against these organisms. This collaboration will focus on containing bacteria with emerging resistance to these two critical drug classes. Specifically, the effort will build surveillance systems to track the spread of resistant Gram-negative bacteria among patients in the hospital setting and identify rare and novel antimicrobial resistance threats using conventional microbiology and whole genome sequencing. Data from those efforts will be used to help inform infection control practices that reduce transmission and keep patients safe. In addition to establishing the surveillance and containment network, the effort focuses on capacity-strengthening to provide training, tools, and resources for point-of-care personnel on bacteriology techniques, next-generation genomic sequencing, and infection prevention and control.  

Participation in these networks builds from previous CDC-funded work undertaken by the collaboration on AMR infections among newborns in the intensive care unit. That effort categorized the most prevalent types of sepsis-related infections and developed changes in healthcare practice to prevent them.